It was about as exciting a football game as one gets.
With 4:11 left in the game, the Thomson Middle School Bulldogs, who held a 20-point lead over the visiting Warren County Screaming Devils, suddenly found themselves having to hang on for dear life last Wednesday in the Thomson Brickyard.
For the Screaming Devils managed to score a pair of touchdowns in a span of only three minutes to make it a much closer game, 32-26. In a last-ditch, last-second attempt on a fourth-down play, Warren County attempted a long pass downfield that sailed over the intended receiver's head, preserving a victory by Thomson.
"It wasn't pretty, but it was a win," said Thomson Middle Head Coach Nick Brinson.
Up by 20-points, the veteran coach and his staff put in their second team, thinking they had the game in the bag.
But Warren County Head Coach Terry Stephens, his staff and their players had other things in mind.
After the Screaming Devils exploded for the two touchdowns and threatened another one late in the game, Thomson coaches sent their first string defensive squad back onto the field in an effort to thwart any other scoring by the visitors.
Two weeks ago, during a jamboree sponsored by Thomson Middle School, the Bulldogs defeated the Screaming Devils 14-0.
"I'm very proud of the way our kids played," Coach Stephens said of his Screaming Devils. "I told our players to hold their heads high when we started to leave the field, because they played a great game. I felt like they needed to show that Warren County pride that we've been telling them about."
He predicts that his team will face Thomson again in the playoffs.
"I feel real sure that our players will see the Bulldogs in the playoffs, even though the playoffs are several games away," Coach Stephens said.
Trailing 32-26, Warren County quarterback Dennis Clark attempted a long pass to receiver Brandon Hudson with just seven seconds left. The pass, however, was thrown slightly over his head - thus ending the game.
Warren County managed to get the late scoring opportunity when Thomson punter Johnathan Atkins miscued on a kick - the punt netting only 8 yards. It came as a result of Thomson quarterback Antonio Coleman being sacked on a third down and 11 at the 49 by Warren County's Devarius Davis.
The Screaming Devils got on the scoreboard first, getting into the end zone on a two-yard run by Devonte Davis with 3:26 left in the first quarter. The scoring drive began at the Warren County 34. Quentavious Johnson, as well as Devarius Davis and Devonte Davis were the ground gainers in that drive.
Thomson's Carlos McGahee fumbled the ball with 1:29 left - Jaiavious Jackson recovering for Warren County at the 45.
Rising to the occasion was Thomson's defensive squad, led by Johnathan Atkins, who sacked the WC quarterback for a minus five yards on a third down play. A bad snap of a ball to punter Edricus Williams actually led to Thomson's first touchdown.
The Bulldogs took over at the WC 23 with Thomson's Coleman handing off to Anthony Moss, who scored from 23 yards out with no time left on the clock. That made it a 6-6 game.
By halftime, Thomson was up 18-12. Their other two scores came on a 16-yard run by Demarquis Lampkin and a 7-yard run by Moss. Warren County's other first half TD came on a 78-yard kickoff return by Johnson, which made it a 12-12 game.
In the third, Thomson's Ladricus Bonner took a handoff from reserve quarterback Josh Jones and scored from 2 yards out. Bonner also scored the two-point conversion. The Bulldogs went up by 32-12 on another Bonner TD with 4:11 to play in the game.
Warren County's other TDs were scored by Williams on a 30-yard pass from Clark and later a 20=yard pass from Clark to Devonte Davis. Devarius Davis scored the two-point conversion.
Thomson was to have played Putnam County on Wednesday, while Warren County was to have battled Washington County.